2021 has set a new record for the number of violent deaths of transgender and gender non-conforming people.

According to the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the educational arm of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest LGBT rights advocate, at least 45 transgender or gender non-conforming people have been killed this year.

2020 was previously the deadliest year on record, with at least 44 murders.

Marquiisha Lawrence, a 28-year-old black transgender woman, was the latest victim. Lawrence was fatally shot in Greenville, South Carolina on Thursday, November 4.

“We are at a tragic and deeply upsetting moment: With the death of Marquiisha Lawrence, 2021 has become the deadliest year ever for transgender and gender non-conforming people,” HRC Interim President Joni Madison said in a statement. “Each of these 45 names represents a whole person and a rich life torn from us by senseless violence, driven by bigotry and transphobia and stoked by people who hate and fear transgender people and the richness of their experience.”

Madison blamed an increasing “culture of hate and stigma” fueled by transphobic legislation for the deaths.

“Dehumanizing rhetoric has real-life consequences for the transgender community, particularly transgender women of color but especially Black transgender women. As we have seen an unprecedented number of bills introduced in state legislatures attacking transgender youth and trans adults, the moment we are in is clear. They have attacked transgender people’s right to health care, right to exist in public, and right to live openly, with the ultimate goal of dehumanizing and erasing their lives and experiences.”

“Every life has value. Marquiisha’s life had value. At this moment, HRC vows to double down on our efforts to dismantle this culture of hate and stigma, and to honor these lives with action,” Madison added.

HRC's “Count Me In” campaign encourages LGBT people and allies to show support and spread awareness on behalf of the transgender community.